Over Christmas break, I had had a couple glasses of wine at my mom’s house. All the girls were downstairs crafting and enjoying each other’s company. I was working on my bullet journal and Amanda showed me some new dinosaur washi tape she had bought. I was so excited and said I wanted to use it to plan a trip. So because I was pretty tipsy, I planned a weekend to dinosaur land in Vernal UT. I even booked a hotel!
Well when I booked it it seemed a lot further away than it really was. Before I knew it it was time for Amanda and I to head out. We left Saturday January 13th at around 5:30 pm. It was an easy trip to pack for and only a three hour drive. Once we really got on the road it began to get super dark outside (darn winter) and it made the drive seem miserably long. There was even a point where we missed an exit, had to turn around on the freeway to go the other way to make the exit, but missed it again. It was pretty funny although it did add some travel time. Amanda was a good sport about driving the whole time, but it was a big relief when we arrived at the hotel. The hotel was also a good surprise. I only paid $44 for the night and was expecting a cheap motel type place. Instead we found a nice, well kept hotel that was totally a great deal for the price we paid.
Since we didn’t get to the hotel until 8:50 pm, we didn’t do much around town that night. We picked up some Arby’s and just went back to the hotel room. It was a tough night for me because I struggled to fall asleep without Tyler there. I managed to finally fall asleep though and even slept pretty well.
In the morning I was up before Amanda and got her up for breakfast. We ate breakfast at the hotel and it was nothing too special. The only mentionable part was that I went to get a cup of coffee before Amanda and they were out of creamer, disappointed I just used milk and sat down at our table. But just a couple minutes after me, Amanda went to get a cup of coffee for herself and they had refilled the creamer. We seemed to think that was really funny and giggled about it for a while.
After breakfast, we checked out of the hotel and stared our one day tour of Vernal. We started by driving out of the town to the Dinosaur National Park. It was a short 30 min drive away and was deserted when we got there. We first stopped at the National Park sign and took some photos. Then we drove up to the visitors center and started our tour there. I was disappointed because I was hoping to find a shot glass souvenir to add to my collection, but no luck. Instead I found a sticker and a collectible token. We even watched a short video on the park. After the visitor’s center we took a short drive to the quarry exhibit. This was the coolest part of the park. There was a wall dinosaur bones that had been exposed but otherwise left untouched by paleontologists. It was cool to see how all the bones were left and how many different dinosaur species were that close together. The display was really cool and it was really awesome that Amanda and I were the only visitors there. The ranger working at the quarry was really nice and really taught us a lot about the exhibit. I loved the bones of the long neck dinosaurs and it was cool to see the ones native to Utah. We even got to touch a real dinosaur bone.
After we had our fill at the quarry, we went on a short scenic drive through the rest of the park that was open during the winter. It was beautiful, but short.
Once we got out of the park, we headed back into Vernal for lunch. Because I planned this trip while I was intoxicated, I didn’t plan it very well. We had hoped to eat lunch at Betty’s Cafe. A cute little mom and pop shop. Turns out this cafe only stays open till noon. We arrived at 12:02 and were unable to enter. So instead we went across the street to a restaurant that was similar but not as cutesy. I don’t even remember the name of it. It was not really noteworthy. I am pretty disappointed that our eating adventures on this trip were subpar. Guess we live and learn. Next time I will plan out food better and be sure to check the hours of operation.
Next on the agenda was to visit the natural history museum on the main street in Vernal. I had done my research here. I knew the inside of the building would be closed since it was Sunday. However we were still making a stop since I had read from a travel blog that they keep the outdoor walking path open. I was so excited because this outdoor path is where the model dinosaurs were. This was going to be the best part of the trip. Well unfortunately my source was wrong. The outdoor path was NOT open. I was really disappointed as this is what I was most looking forward to. We even debated hopping the fence. But we ended up cutting our losses and decided to just visit the little roadside attractions all along the town’s main street.
First up on the roadside attraction list was Dina. Dina is a large pink dinosaur that is proudly holding a sign labeling Vernal as Utah’s Dinosaur Land. After a photo with Dina, we drove to a totally instagram-able wall that has a dino skeleton with the words fossil avenue. And our last stop on the roadside show was the most popular photo opp. Rex is a big green T-Rex that they dress up for holidays. In our photos Rex is dressed up with cupid with wings and a bow and arrow. We took some photos in front of him and even pulled out the polaroid.
After our quick stops we decided we had come and saw everything we wanted to so we started to head out at 2 in the afternoon. We filled up with gas, got some starbucks and were on our way. The drive home was much better and seemed to fly by. I taught Amand how to use cruise control on her car.
Overall it was a great trip and a bonus night of fun last night.
Hi! My name is Kylie. I'm 21 years old and am married to my best friend! I love my wonderfully normal life and hope you do too.